Ukraine War Q&A Series: What’s Going On in Bakhmut?

by Peter Zeihan on May 17, 2023

The third question of the Q&A series is…what the hell is going on in the city of Bakhmut?

Bakhmut is the city in eastern Ukraine that the Russians, specifically the Wagner Group, have been hammering for months. The city is in ruins, the bodies are stacking up, and the Russians still don’t have much to show for it…

This battle has been part of Prigozhin’s ploy to show how great of a leader he is with the hopes of becoming defense minister. All he’s done is proven how incompetent he is as a military leader and pissed off the current defense minister in the process.

Wagner has exhausted its resources (and men), so the Russian military is beginning to take the reigns in Bakhmut. The Ukrainians have jumped on this transitionary period and reversed the flow of territorial captures for the first time since the start of this assault.

The issue with Bakhmut is that it doesn’t hold much strategic significance. Sure, it’s a road nexus, but it falls within striking distance for both sides. It would require significant territory gains on either side to be a viable stronghold. Perhaps there’s something bigger at play here…

(The military situation in Bakhmut is extremely fluid, and I am, you know, not there. So I’m focusing on the big-picture strategic issues rather than a tactical blow-by-blow of what’s going on in and around the city’s remains.)

Ukraine War Q&A Series: What's Going On in Bakhmut? || Peter Zeihan

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Categories: Geopolitics

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